Summary of social work graduate programs prepared by Melissa C.F. Becker, MSW, September 2000
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New Mexico State University School of Social Work

Identity: Advanced practice in social work requires the designation of a program specialization. A family preservation in multicultural settings focus has been chosen for the M.S.W. at New Mexico State University. This specialization is well suited to emerging national needs and especially to those in the New Mexico practice environment. The relative lack of formal resource systems in many rural areas, an overemphasis on institutionalization, and the demonstrated effectiveness of the family preservation approach for helping families indicate a need for social work professionals to specialize in this practice area.

It is for these reasons and because of the multicultural diversity and traditions of the Southwest that the School of Social Work supports and incorporates the respect and appreciation for diversity in its curriculum. Becoming a culturally competent professional is one of the expectations of the social work program.

The specialization in the Master of Social Work program at New Mexico State University is Family-Centered Practice in Multicultural Settings. The specialization prepares students for advanced practice in which the family perspective is at the center of the field of action. Building on the liberal arts perspective and foundation courses, students develop advanced skills and knowledge in enhancing the strengths of families, their functioning, and their quality of life. Students will have advanced skills and knowledge in advanced family focused interventions in neighborhoods, communities, organizations and public policies to facilitate support of families. These advanced skills and knowledge incorporate cultural responsiveness to the needs of diverse families, and address families in the context of social, cultural, community, and other environmental systems. This family-centered, collaborative practice approach is built on the foundation of social work values and the enhanced values of family-centered practice. The family-centered perspective includes policies, services, and practices designed to strengthen and maintain the integrity of families in micro, mezzo and macro systems, while promoting the healthy growth and development of a family's individual members.

Hours: 62 credits; semester system; 2-3 credit courses. Advanced standing = 33 credits.

Pre Reqs: The undergraduate degree must include 2 courses from the humanities, 2 from the natural and biological sciences (with one course in human biology or its equivalent), and 3 from the behavioral and social sciences, with at least 1 course in sociology or psychology.

Program Structures: full time; part time; advanced standing.

Foundation Requirements: 30 credits. Social Problems and Social Welfare Policy; Human Behavior and the Social Environment I & II; Social Work Practice I & II; general elective (3 credits); Social Work Research; Generalist Field Practicum I & II (9 credits total).

Concentrations: approximately 32 credits. One concentration: Family Preservation in Multicultural Settings (also written as Family-Centered Practice in Multicultural Settings). Family Theories for Social Work; Family Preservation Orientation I (1 credit; required for advanced standing only); Family Policy; Social Work Practice with Families; Family Preservation Practice; Social Work Research Seminar I & II or Graduate Thesis; 3 credit General elective (not for thesis option); Family Practice elective (3 credits); Family Service Practicum I, II, & III (10 credits total).
Also required: completion of a research project, or, for those electing the thesis option, the completion of a thesis. The thesis is a more extensive project and requires a different course of study including an approved proposal. Those students who plan to complete a doctoral degree are encouraged to pursue the thesis option.

General elective examples: sociology, anthropology, psychology, health science, home economics, counseling and educational psychology, economics, management, government, experimental statistics.

Family Practice elective examples: Social Work Practice with Hispanic Families; Violence in the Family; The Family and Substitute Care; Administration of Family Programs; Special Topics; Substance Abuse in Families; Holistic Family Practice.

Practicum: 2 year program: generalist and family service field placements (19 credits; 950 hours). Advanced standing: family service field placement (10 credits; 500 hours). Four two-hour Field Seminars are held once a month during each semester and these hours are included in the total hourly requirement.

Electives: 2 general electives and a family practice elective are required.

Specialization Options: Interdisciplinary graduate minor in alcohol & drug counseling. Completion of this minor will prepare students to take the exam for licensure as a drug & alcohol counselor in New Mexico.

Dual Degree Options:

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You can email Melissa: - online since April 1999
This page posted September 23, 2000